Filmed in the Karimabad area of Pakistan’s biggest city, the video prompted calls to police from people fearing for their safety at the sight of the large animal. Sohail Anwar Siyal, an interior minister from the Sindh province, also called for law enforcement to get involved.
Karachi Police Senior Superintendent Muqadas Haider later announced that the animal’s owner, Saqlain Jawaid, had been arrested at his home and taken into custody. Jawaid reportedly told police that he had the proper documents to keep the lion at a private zoo, and that he was returning from the veterinarian, as the big cat had been sick.
Karachi authorities, however, said that Jawaid’s private zoo permit from the Wildlife Department expired a year ago, and although he does have a permit to raise lion cubs he isn’t permitted to transport the animals on city streets.
"The man was driving around with his lion near a local market and it was a matter of endangering public life and property," Haider told Reuters.
Owning wild cats isn’t that uncommon in Pakistan, especially for businessmen like Jawaid, who keep them in private zoos and sometimes enjoy showcasing them in public.
In the video pedestrians can be seen staring at the lioness, taking care not to get too close as the animal flicks its tongue.
The owner’s documents have been sent to the Wildlife Department to be verified, and an investigation is underway. As police consult with the department over further action, the lion has returned to its home, which has been assigned a security detail.